Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kissel aka Cranberry Fruit Soup

Kissel ('kissell' in Estonian) is a sweet soup (dessert soup or fruit soup, however you call it) popular in these parts of the world. A thinner kissel (my mum makes an excellent rhubarb one - rabarbrikissell - for instance) can be drunk straight from a cup as sweet injection. A thicker kissel is served alongside many puddings - and as I'm planning to tell you about a very special Estonian pudding in a few days, I'm going to tell you about kissel first. Note, however, that it's not the first time a kissel appears here on Nami-nami, oh no. Last September I told you about a curd cheese and apple souffle, which was also served in a bright puddle of fruit soup, too.

I like my kissel a bit on the sour side, so I tend to use redcurrant juice, cranberries, rhubarb or lingonberries as a starting base. I found some local cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccus, which are tiny compared to the huge US cranberries, Vaccinium macrocarpon - see photo here) in a freezer (picked by ourselves, of course), and used these. The resulting kissel had a perfect balance of acidic and sweet, plus a beautiful, beautiful colour..

Cranberry Fruit Soup
Makes 1,5 litres

500 ml (2 cups) cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1.5 Litres of water
300 ml (1¼ cups) caster sugar
100 ml potato starch
100 ml cold water

Bring water into boil in a large saucepan, add cranberries and cook for about 5 minutes, until the berries are softened.
Drain(keep the juice!), pressing the cooked cranberries through the sieve. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
Add sugar, simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the potato starch* with cold water. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the starch mixture in a thin stream into the cranberry juice, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Place the saucepan back to the hob and heat gently, until the first bubbles appear.
Remove from the heat, and pour immediately into small bowls or a jug. Sprinkle some caster sugar on top (this keeps the 'skin' from forming).
Cool before serving.

* You can also use Maizena/cornflour, but it won't give you as clear kissel. Also, if using cornflour, remember you must cook the kissel for a few minutes to start thickening.

Cranberry kissel with curd cheese. All three photos by K.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Light and delicious pears poached in ginger syrup

An Estonian blog friend of mine recenly asked me for light dessert recommendations, and I instantly suggested these ginger-infused pears. You see, one of my Christmas hits was pears poached in mulled wine (you can see a photo here, which were inspired by a similar dessert I learnt to make during my internship at Restaurant Stenhus, photo here), and although I've never really liked poached fruit much before, I enjoyed these a lot. I think I made them thrice in December. But we've had too many Christmassy flavours going on the table recently, plus I knew she had tried these already :)

So I suggested these ginger infused pears instead. Ginger - an ingredient that gingerly sneaked into my kitchen cupboard only few years ago - is playing a star role in this dessert. Easy to make, easy to serve, easy to eat and easy to like.

I used Comice pears, as these have the prettiest shape for poaching, I think. But you can use any good sized and firm pear.

Pears poached in ginger syrup
(Hõrgud ingveripirnid)
Serves 4, can be easily doubled

Photo by K.

4 hard pears, stems intact
a thumb-sized piece of root ginger
500 ml (2 cups) of water
250 grams sugar (or less, if you prefer)

Take a small saucepan large enough to just fit the pears. Measure out the water and sugar, and stir the sugar into the water until dissolved.
Peel the ginger and cut into thin slices, add to the saucepan.
Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Cut off a small slice from the base of the pears, so they would stand upright.
Place the pears into the saucepan - the liquid should just cover them.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently on a low heat for about an hour, until the pears are soft (test for doneness with a small sharp knife).
Remove from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the ginger syrup*.
Serve with softly whipped cream, softened curd cheese (on the photo) or melting vanilla ice cream.

* You can reduce the syrup and serve with ice cream, pancakes or ginger cake.

More poached pears? Try these:
Poached pears with maple syrup (The Perfect Pantry)
Pears Poached in Saffron Vanilla Bean Syrup (Figs with Bri)
Poached pears with spiced granitè and honey (Sweet Pleasure/Plaisir sucré)
Poached pears with cinnamon, vanilla and lemon and Red Wine Poached Pears (Cook (almost) Anything)
Chai-Poached Pears (Fresh Approach Cooking)
Poached Pears in Raspberry Sauce (FatFree Vegan Kitchen)
Ginger & Cardamom Poached Pears (Gluten-Free Bay)
Wine-Poached Pears with Juniper (Cooking with the Single Guy)
Pears Poached in Spiced Wine (Morsels and Musings)
Poached Pears with maple syrup and candied ginger (Cooking with Amy)
Poached Pears with Poached Spiced Figs (The Wednesday Chef)
Poached Pears with Sticky Vanilla-Orange Cream (Lex Culinaria)
Wine-Poached Pears (use real butter)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hõbelusikas - Silverspoon: Estonian Gastronomy Awards 2007

Me (on the left:) and the winner of the Chef of the Year Award, Tõnis Siigur from Restaurant Stenhus, Tallinn at the Estonian Gastronomy Awards ceremony yesterday. Photo by K.

Just like last year, I had a chance to attend the Silver Spoon 2007 Gala Dinner last night. The Estonian Gastronomy Awards were handed over at the ceremony attended by many of the food-loving bold and beautiful in Estonia, including me and my dear K :) There were small ballet dancers, singing by Chalice, lots of good food, and plenty of food-related chatting, of course.

The festive dinner menu was created by the winner of the Chef of the Year award of 2006, Dimitri Demjanov, the grand old man of Estonian haute cuisine, and it was full of surprising local ingredients like Baltic herring, my beloved kama, sea-buckthorn, black pudding/blood sausage, to name just a few. I'll reprint the menu with my musings below, but first, the award winners.

There are ten categories at the Estonian Gastronomy Awards, and I list them in no particular order:

Estonian Gastronomy Awards, 2007

Bonaparte, Tallinn - nominee
Stenhus, Tallinn - winner
Ö, Tallinn - nominee

Vertigo, Tallinn - nominee
Vinoteque In Studio Vinum, Tallinn - winner
Karl Friedrich, Tallinn - nominee

Cafe Truffe, Tartu - nominee
Lounge UpUp, Tallinn - winner
Cést La Vie, Tallinn - nominee

Restaurant-Brewery Beer House, Tallinn - nominee
Suure Tõllu Körts, Saaremaa - winner
Altja Kõrts, Lahemaa - nominee

Tõnis Siigur, Restaurant Stenhus, Tallinn

Vinoteque-Restaurant In Studio Vinum, Tallinn

Suure Töllu Körts, Saaremaa

Restaurant-Brewery Beer House, Tallinn

Restaurant Ö

Restaurant Tchaikovsky, Tallinn

Now. First let me tell you that I'm extremely pleased that Tõnis Siigur, the young and talented chef of Restaurant Stenhus in Tallinn won the Chef of the Year award. You see, I love his restaurant, and more importantly, I also had a chance to work in his restaurant for 10 full days in December (what? you mean I've still not told you about the Cookery Diploma I successfully did last autumn and which included an 80-hour internship in a restaurant? Well, I did, and I did my internship at the best gourmet restaurant in Tallinn, and Tõnis Siigur taught me a lot. The fact that I ended up sitting next to him at the ceremony was pure coincidence, however:)

Stenhus won the best gourmet restaurant award for the fourth time, and if that's not a sign of quality, I don't know what is :) But K. and I also had a wonderful meal at Restaurant Ö just recently, and I would have been happy for either one to win. I'm a bit unsure about the café category, however, as none of my current favourite cafés (Chocolats de Pierre, Anneli Viik Chocolate Café, Café´Park) made it to the shortlist. Next year, hopefully. K. and I are really not pub persons, so neither one of us has personal preferences for the best pub, but apparently the winner of the category - the Tavern Suur Töll on the island of Saaremaa - serves excellent home-made pub snacks (while also being the most family friendly establishment!!), so we'll make sure to check the place out this summer.

And now to the menu:

Dimitri Demjanov is known for his respect for local, traditional ingredients and dishes, and this was clearly evident in the menu. Whereas I didn't think that all dishes worked so well (sea-buckthorn coulis was way too sweet to do any justice to the excellent berry), there were some real inventive and delightful gems. The creamy black pudding soup was both delicious and intriguing; the pork lard with herbs and goat cheese butter accompanying the breads were definitely different; the decision to serve caraway infusion as an alternative to coffee with petit fours was brave, but justified, and chosen by many. K. and I were unsure about the food and alcohol pairings - there was beer, mead, vodka, sherry, calvados, champagne and white wine, and although I only took a sip of each, I could feel it this morning :)

Silver Spoon Gala Dinner 25.1.2008
Hortes Palm Hall, Tallinn

Dimitri Demjanov

Amuse bouche: Traditional Setu pie and mead drink

Citrus marinated Baltic herring with capers, almond potatoes and frisee salad

Creamy black pudding soup with apple and cinnamon wafer

Gooseberry sorbet with caraway seed liquour and Veuve Cliquot champagne

Suckling pig belly confit with sauerkraut and pearl barley

Fruitcake slice with goat cheese mousse and blackberry confiture

Kama parfait with sea-buckthorn coulis and spun sugar

Coffee or chamomile-caraway infusion

Petit fours

It was a great and enjoyable night, and we'll be looking forward to the 2008 awards next January. Tõnis Siigur will be in charge of the menu, you see, and knowing what he's capable of, the meal is worth waiting for :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Melt-in-your-mouth curd cheese doughnuts aka kohupiimapontšikud (quark fritters)

Curd cheese puffs / Suussulavad kohupiimapontšikud
Photo updated in November 2010

Peabody and Tartelette have told us that it's time to make doughnuts - and I'm delighted to introduce you kohupiimapontšikud aka Estonian curd cheese doughnuts. Kohupiimapontšikud is something every Estonian kid is familiar with - a real, honest comfort food - and there are plenty of adults who have hard time resisting these as well. We know they're not the dessert for calorie-counting and health-conscious modern girls, but every now and then we indulge in them after all.

I made these old-time favourites about a fortnight ago, and although I had planned to eat a couple for a few days there was none left by the dinner time. Granted, my friend Liis and her 18-month old daughter Matilda helped me a lot by eagerly popping by for an afternoon cup of tea and some doughnuts, but K. surprised me by eating all but one when I left the dining room for a few moments later that night ;-) I'm not surprised, however, as these were so soft, so tender, so tasty, so, well, yummy..

Hope you'll make these. You can find curd cheese from Russian and Polish shops or try quark/kvark or ricotta cheese or farmer's cheese instead. And check back with Peabody and Tartelette after February 12th to see all the other doughnut entries!

Estonian curd cheese doughnuts
(Suussulavad kohupiimapontšikud)
Serves about 6

250 grams curd cheese
4 Tbsp sugar
2 medium eggs
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
100 grams plain/all-purpose flour (approx. 150 ml)

rapeseed oil for frying

icing sugar for sprinkling

Using a wooden spoon, mix the curd cheese and eggs until combined. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda, fold into the cream cheese mixture.
Heat about 3-4 cm of oil in a small heavy saucepan until hot.
Take two tablespoons - use one to take a spoonful of dough, the other to 'round up' and push the dough into the hot oil.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown, then using a slotted spoon, flip the doughnut over and cook the other side. (The doughnuts will puff up nicely because of the baking soda).
Remove from the oil and place on a sheet of kitchen paper, so drain the extra oil.
Sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar before serving.
The doughnuts are best when still warm, but lukewarm is fine, too.

Similar recipes:
Quark fritters @ Food Bridge

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another great fish dish: Salmon with Lime and Mustard

It was just over a week ago when I posted a recipe for Salmon with Creamy Orange Sauce and Rosemary, but since we're adviced to eat oily fish on a weekly basis, I hope you don't mind another salmon recipe so quickly. I made this for K's mum's birthday party last weekend, and it went down really well. So well that we'll definitely try it again soon.

It's based on vague instructions of an Estonian celebrity chef Imre Kose that appearead in a local daily newspaper back in 1999 (I'm glad I kept that newspaper clipping!). There was a brief moment of confusion as whether to season the fish fillet with salt or not, as the instructions didn't specify, and we decided not to. We're glad we did - the resulting fish had plenty of flavour (mustard and lime), and definitely didn't seem to cry for some salt.

If you prefer more flavour, do the prep work earlier and let the fish marinate for an hour before cooking.

Salmon with Lime and Mustard
(Laimi-sinepi ahjulõhe)
Serves 10

a salmon or trout fillet, approximately 1-1,5 kg
1 lime
Dijon mustard
fine dried breadcrumbs

Preparation is supereasy - place the fish fillet in a ovenproof dish (remember to remove any pin-bones first!). Then sprinkle the fish fillet with lime juice (throw the lime shells into the oven dish as well), spread generously with Dijon mustard and scatter breadcrumbs on top. NO NEED TO SEASON WITH SALT!

Cover loosely with foil, and cook in a preheated 200 C oven for about 20 minutes. If you wish, remove the foil after 15 minutes - this will allow the breadcrumbs to get some colour.

Take out of the oven and serve with cooked rice and/or some green salad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Saffron Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Another cake I made for my dear K's mother's birthday party last weekend* was this saffron carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A recipe is from the Swedish Arla site (Saffran- och morotskaka) and although I was a bit heavy-handed with saffron (we've got loads at home, and it's not easy to measure out half a gram when our scales only recognise 2 g increments!), the cake was a success. Moist and bright-coloured, with a wee bit tangy frosting.

* We only attended the Saturday party and were surprised to find out that the most famous Estonian composer - probably the only Estonian composer most of you have ever heard of (who also happens to be a classmate of K's mum) - made a surprise appearance at the party on Sunday. If we had only known that before, I would have turned up on Sunday as well :)
Anybody wants to guess who was eating my cakes? The hint I'm giving you is that K's mum turned 72.

Saffron Carrot Cake
(Safrani-porgandikook toorjuustuglasuuriga)

100 g butter, at room temperature
250 ml (a cup) of caster sugar
0.5 g saffron threads
3 large eggs
250 g carrots, finely grated
grated zest of half an orange
300 ml plain/all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

Cream cheese frosting:
200 g cream cheese
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
sugar, to taste
1 tsp cinnamon

Make the cake batter. Mix butter, sugar and saffron threads (powder them between your fingertips) in a bowl and cream until pale and light. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add grated carrots and orange zest.
Mix flour with baking powder and fold into the batter.
Pour the batter in a 24 cm cake tin (butter the tin first and sprinkle with fine breadcrumbs or line with a parchment paper).
Bake in the middle of a 175 C oven for about 40 minutes, until the cake is cooked (test for doneness with a toothpick). Cool in a tin.

To make the cream cheese frosting, mix the cheese with vanilla and a bit of sugar, spread on the cake.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Weekend Full of Cooking, and a Recipe for Chocolate Brownies

Last weekend I baked no less than four cakes (chocolate buttercream cake with mocha glaze, saffron and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, Manhattan cheesecake, and chocolate brownies), a cookie sheet full of small potato puff rolls, and prepared a festive salmon dish with lime and mustard. These were all for K's mum's birthday parties on the weekend. We attended just the one on Saturday, but were asked to prepare cakes for the other birthday party session as well:) Of course, I also cooked casual meals for myself and K. (sauerkraut soup with chicken drumsticks for dinner last night, and curd cheese patties with apples for dessert; K. made us these pretty curd cheese pancakes for brunch yesterday. We enjoyed the pancakes with some Cherry Republic's Blue Cherry Preserve - a surprise gift from one of my US readers, Ülle.

I love weekends like that.

And it looks like there's something American in the air at the moment. Only recently I found myself making coleslaw in the midst of winter. And two of the four cakes I brought along to K's mum's place were distinctly American - Manhattan cheesecake and Chocolate brownies. It's not surprising, of course, considering that many of my favourite food blogs and daily reads are written by Americans. No wonder then that my culinary mind and appetite lusts after American classics every now and then. However, the brownie recipe I've used for years is from Thorntons, the British high-street chocolatier. I've tried few others, but this is the one I keep returning to over and over again, when I'm craving chocolate. I don't like crumbly and over-baked brownies. This recipe results in brownies with a perfectly chewy-crispy top, and moist-chocolatey inside (even if one cannot really see that on the photo). I love large squares of it when still warm. And when it's cold, I cut it into tiny squares - no bigger than 2 cm - and eat as nutty chocolate candies :)

Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16

200 g butter
200 g dark chocolate (min. 70%)
3 medium eggs
250 g sugar
100 g plain/all-purpose flour
100 g walnuts, chopped
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Line a square cake tin (24x24 cm) with a parchment paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie or microwave. Cool a little.
Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixture. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
Fold in flour, salt, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
Pour the batter into the tin, and bake in a preheated 170˚C oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is chewy-crisp on the top and still moist inside.
Serve when still warm.
Alternatively, let cool in a tin, then cut into (smallish) squares.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's Soup! Creamy beetroot soup with horseradish and caraway seeds

You cannot have too many beetroot recipes, can you?

Ok, I know that people who dislike beetroot might disagree with me, but now, in the midst of dark and cold winter, this wholesome root vegetable is a rather heavily used ingredient in our kitchen. We both like it, you see - both the earthy flavour and the gorgeous colour. This particular soup has a definite North-Eastern European feel to it because of caraway seeds and horseradish, so it's quite distinct from the previous beetroot soup recipes I've blogged about (e.g. Beetroot Soup with Goat's Cheese and Delicious Vegetarian Borscht). The recipe is adapted from the sunny Australia, however: Better Homes and Gardens.

Note that I'm obviously in the mood for some horseradish kick these days - it's my third horseradish dish in a week, following the Coconut and Tomato Soup with Horseradish and the Fierce Smoked Mackerel Spread on rye bread.


Creamy Beetroot Soup with Horseradish and Caraway
(Kreemjas peedisupp mädarõikaga)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use rapeseed oil)
1 small onion, chopped
750 grams beetroot, grated coarsely
1 Litre vegetable bouillon
2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp grated horseradish (fresh is best, canned will do)
200 ml sour cream
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook the onion over low heat for 10 minutes until soft.
Add the beetroot, vegetable stock and caraway seeds and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes, until beetroot is very soft.
Leave to cool and process in batches until smooth. (For extra smooth result, press through a fine sieve as well).
Return to the pan and re-heat gently.
Stir in the horseradish and sour cream before serving.
Garnish with a dill sprig.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coleslaw, my first ever

I had never made - or even tried - the American coleslaw salad* until a fortnight or so ago. And whereas I understand it's a typical salad to eat on your summer barbeque, I felt the sudden urge to try it just before Christmas - must have been all the substantial Christmas feasts I was attending during that time. I used Elise's coleslaw recipe as a starting point, and came up with this version. And I must admit I liked this simple cabbage salad a lot - the light mayonnaise dressing, the crunchy carrot and cabbage, the lively colours - all of it.

I actually liked enough to throw together a last minute red cabbage coleslaw for our New Year's Eve Feast. And definitely enough to consider making it again soon. So if you've got a specific coleslaw recipe you think I should try, tell me. I'm all ears!

You can read more about coleslaw over at Elise's or Wikipedia.

(Ameerika kapsa-porgandisalat 'Coleslaw')
Serves 4

300 grams white cabbage
2-3 carrots, peeled
1 small red onion
a handful of parsley
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt/sour cream
1 tsp strong mustard
black pepper

Wash the cabbage and shred with a sharp chef's knife or a kitchen mandoline. Cut carrots into matchsticks (i.e. julienne).
Halve the onion, then cut into fine slices and separate the slices into rings.
Mix the vegetables in a large bowl, throw in the chopped parsley.
Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then fold into the cabbage mixture.

* I understand that coleslaw can be pretty much any shredded cabbage salad, but the American coleslaw uses mayonnaise dressing?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Revisiting an old favourite: Salmon with a Creamy Orange Sauce and Rosemary

I already posted a recipe for this dish during my early foodblogging days (in July 2005, to be precise). However, it never had a decent photo to illustrate it, plus I've changed the cooking temperatures a little, so I hope you don't mind me writing about it again. Also, I do believe that this fish dish deserves attention. It is an elegant salmon dish, you see, with a lovely creamy, sweet and herby sauce dressing the fish. We had it for dinner last weekend, eating it with some steamed quinoa, and it was a thoroughly satisfying simple meal.

Do try it as well. Oily fish is good for you, you know...

Salmon with a creamy orange sauce & rosemary
(Rosmariini-apelsinilõhe; original recipe: Apelsin- och rosmarinlax, Arla Sverige)
Serves 4 (can be easily halved)

4 pieces of salmon fillets (ca 500 g in total)
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
250 ml (1 cup) single cream
3-4 Tbsp orange juice

First, remove any pin-bones from the salmon fillets with pliers (see photo below).
Put fish fillets into an ovenproof dish, season with a mixture of salt, pepper and rosemary. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Mix the single cream with orange juice and pour over the fish.
Grill in a pre-heated 200˚C oven for 15 or so minutes, until fish is cooked through and the creamy orange sauce has thickened a little.
Transfer the fish onto warm plates and serve with plain rice or quinoa, spooning the extra sauce over the fish.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Salmon Roe Canapés, two ways

Sibulapaadid smetana hapukoore ja lõhemarjaga
Photo updated in January 2012

One of the appetizers we served on New Year's Eve to our guests was a simple, but elegant, salmon roe and red onion canapé. The 'recipe' was from this Finnish site, and I copied it pretty much verbatim. I used salmon roe, which is extremely festive-looking, but any fish roe you like and can afford would surely do.

Salmon Roe and Red Onion mouthfuls
(Sibulapaadid kalamarjaga)

2-3 red onions
100 grams trout or salmon roe
100 grams sour cream or cream fraiché (full-fat!)
fresh dill
coarsely ground black pepper

Peel the onion and cut into quarters. Divide into slices, reserving larger slices (2-3 per person) as 'spoons' and chopping the smaller slices finely.
Spoon some sour cream onto each onion slice, top with finely chopped onion and fish roe.
Garnish with dill and a grinding of black pepper.


The other recipe is very similar to the first one, just served in a different way. You see, I had bought too much salmon roe, and had quite a bit left over on the New Year's Day. So when I browsed some of my favourite Estonian blogs, I spotted a salmon roe appetizer that Kajakapesa had made, and quickly tried her version at home. The ingredients are the same, with the addition of fried rye bread croutons, which take some more edge off the salty fishroe and harsh onions.

Salmon Roe and Rye Bread in a Glass
(Kalamarja suupiste rukkileivaga)
Serves 4
Recipe from the February 2007 issue of Kodukiri

2 to 3 slices of dark rye bread
100 - 200 ml sour cream
1 small red onion, finely chopped
100 grams fish roe (I used salmon, but trout roe would be fine)
fresh dill

Cut the rye bread slices into cubes and crisp them by putting into a hot oven for a few minutes, or dry-roast on a frying pan.
Divide the rye croutons between four glasses, spoon sour cream (or creme fraiché) on top. Sprinkle with finely chopped onion, a spoonful of salmon roe. Garnish with dill.

Other fish roe/caviar appetizers on Nami-nami include Johanna's caviar and wasabi mini potatoes.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's Soup! Coconut and Tomato Soup with Horseradish

With temperatures finally dropping below zero here in Estonia, we're craving soup again. And our first soup in 2008 was this little sweet number from the Finnish site (Kati Forsin tomaatti-kookoskeitto), but I played around with the preparation instructions a little. The subtly sweet coconut soup gets its kick from grated horseradish, as opposed to the much more 'usual' chilli flakes or grated ginger or lemongrass. The girl behind the recipe, Kati Fors (the Tango Queen of Finland in 2005, no less!), suggests adding chicken strips or shrimps, if you prefer a slightly more substantial meal.

Oh, and it's on your table in about 5 minutes. How good is that for a weekday supper?

[Siinkohal tänusõnad Qsti'le, kes sellest supist novembris oma blogis kirjutas. Olin retsepti küll juba varem Nami-nami retseptikogusse lisanud, aga supi tegemiseks tuli väike lisainspiratsioon just sellest blogist. Igatahes: suur aitäh, hea lihtne retsept oli!]

Coconut and Tomato Soup with Horseradish
(Tomati-kookosesupp vähese mädarõikaga)
Serves 2

400 grams canned chopped tomatoes
400 grams coconut milk
1 Tbsp grated horseradish
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and fry on a moderate heat for a few minutes until softened.
Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and horseradish, season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, simmer for a minute or two.
Blend until smooth (optional).
Check for seasoning and serve, with an extra grinding of black pepper on top.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Good bye, 2007!

Last night our friends Liina, Hille, Anu, Margit, Liis & Kristjan & Matilda, Erika & Mait & Siim Oskar came over to send off 2007 in style, with Peter & Kristel joining us after midnight. We watched some must-see programmes on the TV (Kreisiraadio and the President's New Year's Eve Speech), played Scrabble and the Estonian equivalent of Trivial Pursuit, competed against each other in a quiz (consisting of a literary round, a culinary round and a general knowledge round), watched the fireworks (twice, actually, as about half of Tallinn's population seems to live in a different time zone:), chatted and enjoyed ourselves. And of course, we ate lots of good food.

Here's a list of dishes and drinks we enjoyed last night with appropriate English and Estonian language links (so I'd remember next year what to serve and what not to serve:)

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Head uut aastat!!!

Some eye-catching salmon roe and onion mouthfuls (sibulapaadid kalamarjaga; red onion, full-fat sour cream or creme fraiche, chopped red onion, salmon roe, dill, black pepper). One of the most popular nibbles on the table last night (and yes, although onion is strong-tasting, the creamy sour cream and salty salmon roe stole the show):

Two types of salami fingerfood - small squares with thyme (suitsuvorstisuupisted) and small rolls with slices of paprika (salaamikanapeed):

Kiluvõilevad aka rye bread toasts with butter, pickled Baltic herring, chopped green onions and grated boiled egg (my friend Erika and her family are currently living & working in Brussels, Belgium, so these über-Estonian nibbles were especially for them):

Of course there were Molly's bouchons au thon (tuunikalaomletikesed)- one of our favourite snacks from 2007:

There were two healthy salads on the table for those watching their weight: Russian Vinaigrette Salad (köögiviljavinegrett) and red and white cabbage coleslaw (ameerika kapsasalat):

Just before midnight we enjoyed K's modern take on the traditional Estonian Christmas meal - a canapé of black pudding, lingonberry jelly and roast potato:

And we had cheese, of course. There's an excellent local blue cheese now, Breti Blue (far back), and they also do a Brie-type cheese with caraway seeds (oozing on the front). We also had some lovely Mimolette (you can see a tiny glimpse of it down on the left) and Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar (front):

There were two main desserts - a gingerbread tiramisu, garnished with my current favourite berry, sea-buckthorn:


Pears poached in mulled wine (hõõgveinipirnid), garnished with toasted almonds (another hip-friendly dessert):

Both desserts were inspired by my recent internship at the top gourmet restaurant in Tallinn (story to follow). As making tiramisu for dessert left us with 8 egg whites, I made two types of meringues - coconut ones (kookosbeseed) and plain ones (beseeküpsised):

I also made Rosettes (krustaadid), using my long-neglected set of rosette irons:

Gingerbread baskets (piparkoogikorvikesed, using some leftover gingerbread dough) with lingonberry cream (curd cheese, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla and lingonberry jam), garnished with toasted hazelnuts:

For drinks? Kir Royals and Piña Colada Espumas, rooibos tea, Chinese cabernet sauvignon (Dragon Seal, 2005), South African Syrah (Simonsig Stellenbosch 2001), Cidre de Bouché de Normandie and much more..